In order for the Israelites to Possess the Land that God had promised them, not only would they have to be delivered from the bondage of Egypt (Ex 14), but they would also have to cross over the Jordan River into the land that God promised them and then take that land by force. The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was a relatively short journey, perhaps 14 days. When they arrived, Moses sent spies to search the land. They returned with the report that the land was, indeed, a land flowing with milk and honey. However, they also observed that the land was filled with fortified cities that would be nearly impossible to conquer, that the inhabitants of the land were strong, and that there were giants in the land (Nu 13). In this moment of fear and consternation, the Israelites wished to be back in Egypt.
In Numbers 14 God is ready to destroy the people and start over. However, Moses intercedes on their behalf, and God grants forgiveness for their rebellion, but also declares consequences, stating that none of that generation will enter into the Promised Land (Nu 14:28-31). Instead God promises to give the land to their children, whom they thought would become prey to the Canaanites. In the meantime, the Israelites are relegated to forty years of wandering in the wilderness (doing laps around the mountain?) until the we cant do this generation passed away.
As followers of Jesus Christ today, it is also essential for us to cross over into the Promised Land that God has prepared for us. While being brought out of our own Egypt, finding freedom from the penalty of sin through putting our trust in Christs sacrifice of Himself on the cross, we must also realize that we are brought out of something in order for God to bring us in to something new. This something new is described by Jesus as abundant life (Jn 10:10), and discipleship (Lk 14:25-33). It is the gaining of personal victories over the world, the devil and the old man. The problem is that many believers today settle for wandering in a spiritual wilderness that has neither abundant life nor discipleship, rather than crossing over into the Promised Land.
Today we will look at some steps that can enable us to get unstuck in order for us to move from spiritual dryness into a place of fruitfulness, from wandering to purpose, from disengagement to engagement. We will explore the process of crossing over into Gods promised abundant living, stepping from false comfort into direct confrontation. Principles for Crossing Over from Joshua 3:
1. When we see God move, go with Him. (3:3) (Jn 5:19)
a. Note that this move is initiated by God.
b. Recognize that because God wants us to do this, we can.
2. Leave the wilderness mentality behind.
a. In the wilderness they took God with them. In the Promised Land God takes them with Him.
b. In the wilderness they were preoccupied with their own well-being. In the Promise Land they would have to be preoccupied with taking ground for the new kingdom.
- They picked up Manna every day.
- Their clothes didnt wear out.
- Realistically speaking, wilderness living is pretty comfortable.
c. Wilderness living brings a sense of futility and purposelessness.
- Doing the same things over and over.
- Hoping that things will change but knowing that they wont.
3. Recognize that it will no longer be the same old same old. (3:4)
a. The Manna ceased as soon as they ate the produce of the land. (Josh 5).
b. You have not passed this way before.
- This means we will experience things for the first time.
- It wont all be familiar. We cannot simply rely on past experience.
- We will have to learn new skills and gain new understanding while dealing with new experiences.
4. Clean yourself so that God can work. (3:5)
a. Confess sin.
b. To consecrate is to purify, prepare, sanctify, set aside for special purpose.
c. Avoid things that cause compromise.
5. Recognize that vicarious learning is minimal in the Promised Land. (3:7)
a. We have to be ready to learn by doing.
b. We can be assured that if God acts on behalf of others, He will also act on our behalf.
6. Be ready for God to take you to the strongholds of your life in order to tear them down. (3:10) (1Co. 10:13; 2Co. 10:3-5)
a. Canaanite - to be brought low, humbled, under subjection, enslaved.
b. Hittite - to be broken, shattered, afraid.
c. Hivite - tent dwellers, no permanence, not established
d. Perizzite - unwalled, open, no defense
e. Girgashite - dwelling on a clayey soil, unstable, weak
f. Amorite - to boast oneself, challenge, call, mountain dweller, pride, arrogance.
g. Jebusite - to tread down warriors, trample, rejection
7. Remember that Crossing Over must be accompanied by faith. (3:14-16)
a. Faith that God will open the way for us into true relationship with Him.
b. Faith that God will enable us to walk through this life with victory and assurance of His love and blessing. (Eph 1:3)
c. Faith that, with Gods power, we can cross this barrier of self defeat and ineffectiveness.
d. Faith that God will keep us standing even during the great struggles we have as we learn to swing the sword in encounters with the enemy. (Eph. 6)
8. When we cross over, our first encounter is with Jericho. (3:16)
a. Jericho was the largest, most fortified city in Canaan.
b. If you decide to cross over, your Jericho will defiantly stand in your path, challenging your commitment to this new way of living.
How do I start?
1. Find out where you are. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, am I close to the Jordon or am I way out the in the wilderness?
2. Get close. You cant do this alone. Take steps to involve yourself in moving towards God and His people.
3. Get ready for a fight. Nothing comes cheap or easy. Fight to win.
1. When I honestly look at myself, which side of the river am I currently on?
2. Do I need to get to the other side?
3. If I am on the other side, how am I doing?
4. What is God saying to me regarding my possessing the land of my own life?